July 12-18, 2021 / Vol 40, No 28 / Hawai`i Island, USA

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SPC

Guest

Human Spaceflight to Ascend July 2021 as 4 Companies Set High Stakes


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Honoring the upward looking, July Space Month spirit – Virgin Galactic aims to fly the next Americans to the edge of Space with July 11 launch window opening. VSS Unity 22 mission will fly Pilots Dave Mackay and Michael Masucci, Crew Sir Richard Branson, Beth Moses, Colin Bennett and Sirisha Bandla on a 2.5-hour trip from Spaceport America NM. Mothership Eve will carry VSS Unity to ~16 km where it will separate and accelerate to Mach 3, reaching ~90 km. Scheduled for Space Exploration Day July 20, Blue Origin New Shepard is planned to reach >100 km carrying Founder Jeff Bezos, Mark Bezos, Wally Funk (who would become oldest person in Space), and unnamed US$28M auction winner on an 11-minute flight. In May 2020 SpaceX was first to return people to Space from USA soil since 2011 with Dragon Crew, and this July its SN20 Starship (designed to land on Moon, then Mars) could reach Earth orbit / 160 km, taking off from Starbase / Boca Chica TX on Super Heavy booster and upper stage splash down 100 km from Hawai’i. On July 30 at 14:53 from Cape Canaveral FL atop ULA Atlas 5, Boeing Starliner CST-100 will attempt its final uncrewed flight to reach ISS. If successful, first crewed flight could launch before 2022 with astronauts Barry Wilmore, Nicole Mann and Mike Fincke. (Image Credits: VG, Blue Origin, SpaceX, Boeing, NASA, CAST)

MONDAY


Highlights…
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Jul 12 — ISS,
~405-km LEO: Expedition 65 seven-member crew readying for end of month Nauka module arrival, preparing Progress 77P & Pirs Docking compartment for departure / disposal, working with Plant Habitat-04 experiment, Astrobees, transferring cargo from Progress 78P.

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Jul 12 — Tiangong Space Station,
~370-km LEO: Shenzhou 12 three-member crew configuring Tianhe module for future crew, program manager Yang Liwei states Taikonauts have to remove ‘1,000 screws’; robotic arm being tested after its installation during first successful EVA.

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Jul 12 —
NewSpace: Planet and Satellogic set to offer public shares via SPACs with US$2.8B; $1.1B valuation; mu Space to open 2nd satellite factory in Bangkok, expecting to employ 300+; Orbit Fab Tanker-001, first satellite fuel tanker, now operational in LEO.

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Jul 12 — Solar System:
High concentration of methane at Enceladus may point to microbial life; Ingenuity surpasses 9th flight, explores difficult Mars landscape collecting images / data.

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Jul 12 —
Galaxy: 4 recently found Earth-sized rogue planets being studied for orbital paths; Cosmic Cloud hundreds of millions of years old and larger than Milky Way being analyzed in X-ray by international team.

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Jul 12 — Global:
Long March 5DY ‘921 Rocket’ could carry China Taikonauts to Moon surface by mid-decade; SOM (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill) and ESA unveil new inflatable human habitat designs for Moon Village; SKA radio telescope arrays in Australia and Africa to be constructed at $2.2B cost.

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Jul 12 — USA:
NASA NextSTEP offering $45-$100M contracts for post-Artemis 3 surface operations; SLS / Orion test dummy ‘Commander Moonikin Campos’ to fly on Artemis 1; JAXA to send cubesats EQUULEUS and OMOTENASHI to L2 / cislunar space on Artemis 1.

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Jul 12 —
Hawai’i: Director Doug Simons preparing to depart CFHT in September 1 after 9 years to take over as IfA Director; ʻImiloa Astronomy Center opening doors this week.

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= All times

for terrestrial events in local time unless noted.

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= All times for international terrestrial events in local time unless noted.

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= All times for space events, and…

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= All times for international space / astro events in Hawaii Standard Time unless noted. Add 10 hours to obtain UT (‘Universal Time’).



Weekly Planet Watch Evening Planets: Venus (WNW), Mars (WNW), Jupiter (ESE), Saturn (ESE); Morning Planets: Mercury (ENE), Uranus (E), Neptune (SE).


Space Community Gathering in Center of USA Mainland Astronomy – Tucson AZ


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Tucson is hosting Spacefest XI, a broad celebration of space achievements especially focused on Apollo, Gemini and Space Shuttle eras and including current astronautical and astronomical leaders, space artists, historians and enthusiasts. Spacefest is proceeding in-person July 15-18 at JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa. Among the 17 Astronauts and 24 speakers scheduled to attend are Eileen Collins, first woman to command a shuttle mission, Apollo 7 pilot Walt Cunningham, and Charlie Walker, first commercial Astronaut. Organized by Tucson Novaspace art gallery, Spacefest also features an art show in conjunction with International Astronomical Artists Association. Located 88 km WSW of Tucson, within Tohono O’odham Nation, is Kitt Peak National Observatory, part of NSF National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory (NOIRLab). The Kitt Peak complex houses Mayall 4-m and WIYN 3.5-m telescopes, ARO 12-m radio telescope, Spacewatch NEO identification 0.9-m, 1.8-m, 2.3-m and 4-m aperture telescopes, and McMath–Pierce solar telescope. Tucson is renowned for clear, dark skies, the University of Arizona and the L5 Society, a precursor organization to NSS. Tuscon is also set to host 2021 NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Symposium Sep 21-23, followed by 7th Interstellar Symposium Sep 24-27 (running concurrently with U of A virtual series The Art of Planetary Science) – both events are taking place at Marriott University Park. (Image Credits: Spacefest, NOIRlab, Creative Commons)
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Jul 12-16 — NASA Astrobiology Institute,
Online / Mountain View CA: Virtual Workshop: Pluto System and Arrokoth.

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Jul 12-23 — International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, Online / Berlin, Germany: 37th International Cosmic Ray Conference (ICRC 2021).

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Jul 12 — Moon: 3.1° NNE of Venus, 02:00; with Venus and Mars within circle of diameter 3.63°, 02:00; 3.6° NNE of Mars, 03:00; 4.6° NNE of Regulus, 23:00.

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Jul 12 — Mars:
At aphelion, 1.6660 AU from Sun, 14:00.

Continued From…

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May 24 – Aug 6 — Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech, NASA, Pasadena CA and Online: JPL Planetary Science Mission Design School Session 1.

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May 24 – Aug 20 — Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech, NASA,
Pasadena CA and Online: JPL Planetary Science Mission Design School Session 2.

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Jun 1 – Aug 6 — Lunar and Planetary Institute
, Online / Houston TX: 2021 LPI Summer Intern Program in Planetary Science.

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Jun 28 – Aug 27 — International Space University (ISU),
Granada, Spain: ISU Space Studies Program 2021.

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Jun 7 – Aug 13 — Lunar and Planetary Institute
, Online and Houston TX: LPI Summer Internship for 2021.

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Jul 7-16 — International School on AstroParticle Physics, Online / Vienna, Austria: School: Dark Matter – From Theory to Detection.

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Jul 11-18 — Moon Village Association, Space Generation Advisory Council, Online / Vienna, Austria: Towards a Lunar Generation: First MVA Online Workshop for Students and Young Professionals.

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Jul 11-27 — Lāhainā Noon:
As the Sun passes through the Zenith, directly overhead tropic locations, vertical objects cast no shadows; lā hainā means ‘cruel sun’; Hawaii Islands dates / times available.

TUESDAY


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Jul 13 — NASA,
Online / Washington DC: Public Meeting / Request for Information on ‘Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities in NASA Programs, Contracts, and Grants‘; 13:00 EDT.

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Jul 13-15 — American Astronautical Society,
Online / San Diego CA: 3rd John Glenn Memorial Symposium.

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Jul 13 — Mars:
0.47° SSW of Venus, 04:00.

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Jul 13 — Mercury:
2.15° S of M35 cluster, 05:00.

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Jul 13 — Apollo Asteroid 2019 AT6:
Near-Earth Flyby (0.011 AU)

WEDNESDAY


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Jul 14 — NASA Ames Research Center
, Online / Moffett Field CA: Lecture: The Challenges of Managing Small Space Flight Projects; by Butler Hine, 20:00 PDT.

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Jul 14 — British Interplanetary Society, Online / United Kingdom: Lecture: The Exploration before the Exploration; by Luc Joudrier, ExoMars Rover Operations Manager – “A behind the scenes look at how Europe will control the Rosalind Franklin Rover when it reaches Mars in June 2023”.

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Jul 14 — National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
, Online / Washington DC: Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey 2023-2032 – Panel on Small Solar System Bodies Meeting #14 and Panel on Venus Meeting #21.

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Jul 14 — Comet 417P/NEOWISE:
At Opposition (0.700 AU)

THURSDAY


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Jul 15 — Roscosmos State Corporation,
Launch Proton / Nauka & European Robotic Arm, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan: Proton Rocket set to deliver Russia Multipurpose Laboratory Module Nauka “Science” with ERA to replace Russia PIRS module on ISS.

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Jul 15 — Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
, Online / Washington DC: Lecture: Moon Rocks; with lunar sample curator Ryan Zeigler and senior scientist Andrea Mosie.

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Jul 15-16 — NASA, SSERVI, Ames Research Center, Online: 12th Annual Lunar and Small Bodies Graduate Conference (LunGradCon 2021).

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Jul 15-18 — NovaSpace, SpaceFest, Tucson AZ: SpaceFest 2021; at JW Marriott Starr Pass Hotel and Spa.

FRIDAY


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Jul 16 — National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
, Online / Washington DC: Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey 2023-2032 – Panel on Mercury and the Moon Meeting #20.

SATURDAY


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Jul 17 —
Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence and Electrodynamics of the Moon’s Interaction with the Sun (ARTEMIS) P2, Moon Orbit: Craft reaches 10 full years / enters 11th year in Moon orbit today; originally launched with constellation of 5 satellites in 2007 to study Earth magnetosphere, NASA craft collecting data on Moon interaction with Sun; reached Moon 2011.

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Jul 17 — Mt Tam Astronomy Program, San Francisco Amateur Astronomers, Wonderfest, Online / San Francisco CA: Lecture: ‘Oumuamua: Interstellar Visitor; by Douglas Lin, Prof at UC Santa Cruz, 19:30 PDT.

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Jul 17 — Moon:
5.7° NNE of Spica, 00:00; at first quarter, 00:10.

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Jul 17 — Pluto:
At opposition in longitude, magnitude 14.3, 05:00.

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Jul 17 — Apollo Asteroid 2019 NB7:
Near-Earth Flyby (0.039 AU)

SUNDAY


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Jul 18-23 — Royal Astronomical Society, University of Bath, Online / Bath, United Kingdom: United Kingdom National Astronomy Meeting 2021.

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Jul 18-24 — Rencontres du Vietnam, Quy Nhon, Vietnam: 17th Rencontres du Vietnam: Cosmology.

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